Blog Tour, Interview, and Giveaway: Daimonion (J.P. Jackson)

Title:  Daimonion

Series: The Apocalypse, Book 1

Author: J.P. Jackson

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: July 10, 2017

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance, Male/Male

Length: 93400

Genre: Paranormal Horror, paranormal, horror, demons, apocalypse, gay

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Synopsis

Dati Amon wants to be free from his satyr master and he hates his job—hunting human children who display demon balefire. Every hunt has been successful, except one. A thwarted attempt ended up as a promise to spare the child of a white witch, an indiscretion Dati hopes Master never discovers.

But Master has devilish machinations of his own. He needs human-demon hybrids, the Daimonion, to raise the Dark Lord to the earthly realm. If Master succeeds, he will be immortal and far more powerful.

The child who was spared is now a man, and for the first time in three hundred years, Dati has a reason to escape Master’s chains. To do that, Dati makes some unlikely alliances with an untrained soulless witch, a self-destructive shape shifter, and a deceitful clairvoyant. However, deals with demons rarely go as planned, and the cost is always higher than the original bargain.

Excerpt

Daimonion
J.P. Jackson © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Deal with a Demon

Dati

Snow crunched beneath my taloned foot as I searched. My breath hung as fog around my face until the winter wind whipped it away. My padded soles were too tough to feel the iciness, but my mind was frozen numb, ignoring the guilt that came with the job. The drudgery of stalking the city streets was tiresome, and the possibility of attaining success depressed me.

I was just north of the city’s downtown, where all the houses had been built during the war, and their age showed. Master had sent me to search there. Somewhere among these wartime houses, behind the cracked walls and beneath the peeling shingles, there was something that belongs to us.

I hunted a lost child: a dark child.

A thick blanket of grey wrapped the night sky as snowflakes landed atop trashcan lids, cars, and untrimmed hedges. The sight before me felt darkly ethereal. Perhaps it was because of my one scarred and injured eye, or maybe it was the snowstorm, but the night was hazy and blurred. Beams of light from the nearest streetlamp illuminated the snowflakes as if they were hundreds of thousands of falling stars.

Make a wish, I thought to myself. A silly human expression.

I wish I didn’t have to do this. I wish I wasn’t so lonely. I wish to be free.

Silly thoughts. Punishable thoughts.

The winter breeze soothed my skin and tousled the dark curls of my hair, which was just a little too long. I stopped on the corner of the street, just out of reach of the lampost’s exposing brightness.

The snowstorm cocooned the neighbourhood, muffling the city under a layer of pristine, untouched innocence. The fresh snow made me feel comforted and safe.

With the street empty, I shook my wings out, sending a flurry to the ground before draping them back over my shoulder. My wings would look like a cloak to any human who might see me, but then it was late at night, and humans didn’t see well in the dark. Besides, I didn’t really want to be seen by anyone.

I was being cocky. Walking around with my wings exposed was technically against the rules, but my heavy clothes prevented me from tucking them away.

There were rules that must be obeyed. First, no human was to know what I was, or that we existed. Second, Master’s orders were never to be questioned. Third, complete assigned tasks on time, and never, ever displease Master. They were his rules, and I was to follow them, for fear of retribution.

But I did not always obey.

I loved to watch humans: their relationships, the “busyness” of their lives, the drive and passion that sparked creativity and ingenuity, but mostly the kindness in them. Despite what some would say, they were inherently gentle in nature. And I confess I was a little jealous of it all.

But tonight, I didn’t watch. Tonight, I hunted.

Walking down the ragged neighbourhood, the houses all began to blur together with the same small structures and stucco-faced veneers. Massive trees lined the boulevard with branches that reached high like outstretched arms as if to welcome the inclement weather.

I stopped at each structure as I passed by, analysing if only for a brief second to see if the beacon shone through the windows. The glow would be a cold colour, white but tinged in purple, a phosphorescent violet that could only be seen by my kin, the D’Alae. It emanated from all children who possessed latent demon blood. The result of a hybrid mating. Children who were still human and yet, in part, demonic.

We call them the Daimonion.

Hours passed by as I examined each house. And then, one abode, just slightly smaller than the rest but without the obvious need of attention, grabbed my interest.

The demon-light presented itself, glowing in slow pulsations of violet-white light from the furthest window from where I stood. Every time I found this light, my body reacted instinctually and involuntary. I hated my other self, the demon within and the dark violence that surrounded it, but hate wasn’t strong enough to stop the fiend from emerging.

Adrenaline pumped through my veins. Closing my eyes, my head dropped as the change began. There was nothing I could do to stop it. My fangs elongated, my barbed tail stiffened, and my hands morphed from their human shape into the required rakish talons, deadly and sharp, elongated and pointed, with venom beginning to ooze from the base of the nails. Another night, another child ruined by my nocturnal visit.

But you have to do this, Dati. You have to ensure Master is kept happy, I reminded myself, repeating the last sentence like a mantra, trying to justify the gnawing ache in my stomach.

Within seconds, I found myself next to the window where the demon-light beckoned. With a quick push, the old window slid open, and I slipped into the child’s bedroom.

There, beneath a hand-stitched quilt, slept my prey. Such a small boy, with auburn hair surrounded by small stuffed animals. He couldn’t have been more than five years old. Toys littered the room and crystals hung in the window, catching the streetlight and casting prisms all around the room. A small nightlight shone from the corner, its warm yellow glow distorting my shadow across the room into a large ominous silhouette. From the boy, the ebbing radiance glowed fiercely.

I bent over the child and delicately pushed his scruffy hair off of his forehead. Freckles danced across his nose. His breath smelled and tasted of cloying sticky-sweet innocence.

I straightened myself up and stretched out my wings, cramped from the long night’s walk, then held up my clawed demon hand, tensing it. The skin was black, like liquid ink, and the ebony demon flesh flowed up to my elbow where it faded back to pink. Veins of evil persisted up towards the shoulder.

Reaching over, I steadied myself to tear open the skin on the back of the boy’s neck and inject the venom that would unleash the evil hidden within his body. I gently pushed the boy down into the mattress, ensuring there would be no struggle.

Just a hair’s breadth away from making the incision, the cut that would change everything, I stopped. Guilt churned my stomach, making me nauseous, the same way it did for every child before this one.

The bedroom door burst open, and light from the hallway exploded before me. Standing straight and scampering against the wall, I raised a hand to shield my eyes from the blaring light.

A small stout woman with fuzzy slippers and a tatty nightshirt walked into the room and flicked on the boy’s bedroom light, her flat nose and cheeks ruddy with anger. She was furious. How could someone who looked so unassuming appear so fierce, despite the jasmine and vanilla perfume that clung to her clothes?

“Back away from my boy, beast! He is not yours to take.” Her voice was thick with an eastern European accent.

I had broken Master’s most important rule. No human must know what I am. Remorse flooded through me, and my tail went limp as I came to one realization. I would have to kill her.

I lunged forward, faster than her human eyes should have been able to see, but before I was halfway across the room, she raised her hand and, with short, thick, but deft fingers, tossed a piece of paper into the air and spoke.

“Відкрий!” She spoke with specificity and authority. To my ears, it was harsh and unfamiliar. The air around her swirled, causing the flannel night skirt she wore to rustle around her covered feet. Her long hair, plaited, had been disturbed and shanks of dark blonde waved around her head like medusa’s snakes. The piece of paper disintegrated before me, but the symbols and writing from the page hung in the air. With sudden quick movements, the writing encircled me in a spiral.

“Злови!” As she said the foreign word, the hanging writing vibrated with a high-pitched hum. Lines emerged from the tails and stems of the suspended script. Lines weaving and wrapping, growing into long threads.

“Замотай!” With the last word, the letters wound about me. Wrapping me tightly, the strings bound my feet and hands and looped around my torso, lifting me up off of the floor. This woman, in her bunny slippers, wearing threadbare clothes, had me ensnared, and all I could think was how Master was going to be angry with me for getting caught.

I had never met any human who could contain me.

I had no idea what to do.

I was a demon. I would unleash Hell.

Exclusive Interview

Do you seek out inspirational pictures, videos or music?

Absolutely.  I have a Tumblr blog (canuckbear88) that I keep as my photo journal. Feel free to follow me, or drop by and send a virtual “Hi!”.  Fair warning, though…it’s a tad dark, sometimes creepy, but always a little sexy.  It might be slightly NSFW. Any images I run across on the internet that give me decent ideas for a scene, or a character, I post there.

I have several TV series I watch to spur the imagination.  Supernatural, Charmed, Sense8, and True Blood are big favorites, and I’m about to start Lost Girl soon.  Also on my list to watch is Penny Dreadful, The Strain, and the BBC version of Being Human.  Music videos are generally too short, I need the visual for much longer time frames, although having said that, Madonna’s video for Frozen or Bedtime Story are fantastic.

Music, oh wow…I could write pages and pages on the music I seek out.  I like listening to haunting or eerie tracks while I’m writing.  Doesn’t matter if there are lyrics or not, it’s more the way the rhythm and musical tones make me feel.  Current favorites are Ruelle, Fluerie, Delerium, Bassnector, Evanescence, Enigma, Lorde, and Sarah MacLachlan is always a good standby. But then there are a lot of artists that have one or two songs that just ‘fit the bill’.  Sia, Pentatonix, Twenty One Pilots, Tim McGraw, SHEL, NIN, and even Rob Zombie are all on my playlist – no, really, the same playlist.  My musical tastes are a little, well… eclectic.

My current project was spurred on by a mashup of lyrics from two songs; Sarah MacLachlan’s Possession and Alanis Morissette’s Uninvited.  Hence the working title – Uninvited Possession.

 

Do you just let the words flow and then go back and try and make some sense out it?

Yup! Totally me.  I give free rein to my characters and just let them do whatever they want.  Often times I read what I wrote the next day and ask myself “did you mess up your meds again?” or “you most certainly were not sober for that!” Honest, no lie; I’ve actually written stuff and come back to it many months later and asked myself, “Did you write this?”

When I do write something, though, I’m writing it for me.  No one else, just me.  Then, when it’s had enough time to sit and age, and I’ve forgotten about it to some degree, I go back over it and try to fix it.  Honestly, I’m horrible with the technical stuff.  I struggle with commas, I repeat words all over the place, and dialogue construction just confuses the hell out of me.  Thank the gods for editors.

 

Where did the desire to write M/M romance come from? (If applicable)

My first book, even though it’s a M/M relationship, contains no sex.  Sorry! We get close once, though. Maybe in book two. I don’t know, we’ll see.  For me this story wasn’t about the mechanics of sex.  Don’t get me wrong, the main character most definitely wants to go there, and so does his companion, at first, then not at all, then maybe he would a little bit, but that’s for completely different reasons. The story is more about the developing connection in the relationship. A demon who has to protect the human he loves from his world, and unfortunately, he doesn’t do a very good job of that.  With all the brutality and violence that creatures from Hell cause, there’s not much room or willingness for sexy fun times, you know?

 

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three author guests be and why?

Steven King, Anne Rice, and Neil Gaiman.  I’d want all three at the same time and I’d question them on writing styles and how they come up with their ideas.  All three write so incredibly different and yet each of them have managed to chisel out a loyal following.  If I could, I’d absorb everything they know…

And then just because you’ve given me my own talk show, I’d also have Hugh Jackman, because Wolverine, and because he’s Hugh Jackman and because I’ve had a crush on him forever.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

J.P. Jackson works as an IT analyst in health care during the day, where if cornered he’d confess to casting spells to ensure clinicians actually use the electronic medical charting system he configures and implements.

At night however, the writing happens, where demons, witches and shape shifters congregate around the kitchen table and general chaos ensues. The insurance company refuses to accept any more claims of ‘acts of the un-god’, and his husband of almost 20 years has very firmly put his foot down on any further wraith summoning’s in the basement. And apparently imps aren’t house-trainable. Occasionally the odd ghost or member of the Fae community stops in for a glass of wine and stories are exchanged. Although the husband doesn’t know it, the two Chihuahuas are in cahoots with the spell casting.

J.P.’s other hobbies include hybridizing African Violets (thanks to grandma), extensive travelling and believe it or not, knitting.

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Tour Schedule

7/10    The Novel Approach

7/10    Bayou Book Junkie

7/11    My Fiction Nook

7/11    Out Of My Head

7/12    Love Bytes 

7/12    On Top Down Under Book Reviews

7/13    Diverse Reader

7/14    Queer Sci Fi 

7/14    Happily Ever Chapter

7/14    Shari Sakurai

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Blog Tour, Excerpt, & Giveaway: The Ruin of a Rake (Cat Sebastian)

Together, they must decide what they’re willing to risk for love. 

THE RUIN OF A RAKE
Cat Sebastian
Releasing July 4, 2017
Avon Impulse

 

Rogue. Libertine. Rake. Lord Courtenay has been called many things and has never much cared. But after the publication of a salacious novel supposedly based on his exploits, he finds himself shunned from society. Unable to see his nephew, he is willing to do anything to improve his reputation, even if that means spending time with the most proper man in London.Julian Medlock has spent years becoming the epitome of correct behavior. As far as he cares, if Courtenay finds himself in hot water, it’s his own fault for behaving so badly—and being so blasted irresistible. But when Julian’s sister asks him to rehabilitate Courtenay’s image, Julian is forced to spend time with the man he loathes—and lusts after—most.

As Courtenay begins to yearn for a love he fears he doesn’t deserve, Julian starts to understand how desire can drive a man to abandon all sense of propriety. But he has secrets he’s determined to keep, because if the truth came out, it would ruin everyone he loves. Together, they must decide what they’re willing to risk for love.

 

 

London, 1817

Julian pursed his lips as he gazed at the symmetrical brick façade of his sister’s house. It was every bit as bad as he had feared. He could hear the racket from the street, for God’s sake. He pulled the brim of his hat lower on his forehead, as if concealing his face would go any distance toward mitigating the damage done by his sister having turned her house into a veritable brothel. Right in the middle of Mayfair, and at eleven in the morning, when the entire ton was on hand to bear witness to her degradation, no less. Say what one wanted about Eleanor—and at this moment Julian could only imagine what was being said—but she did not do things by halves.

As he climbed the steps to her door, the low rumble of masculine voices drifted from an open second story window. Somebody was playing a pianoforte—badly—and a lady was singing out of key.

No, not a lady. Julian suppressed a sigh. Whoever these women were in his sister’s house, they were not ladies. No lady in her right mind would consort with the sort of men Eleanor had been entertaining lately. Every young buck with a taste for vice had made his way to her house over these last weeks, along with their mistresses or courtesans or whatever one was meant to call them. And the worst of them, the blackguard who had started Eleanor on her path to becoming a byword for scandal, was Lord Courtenay.

A shiver trickled down Julian’s spine at the thought of encountering the man, and he could not decide whether it was from simple, honest loathing or something much, much worse.

The door swung open before Julian had raised his hand to the knocker.

“Mr. Medlock, thank goodness.” The look of abject relief on the face of Eleanor’s butler might have struck Julian as vaguely inappropriate under any other circumstance. But considering the tableau that presented itself in Eleanor’s vestibule, the butler’s informality hardly registered.

Propped against the elegantly papered wall, a man in full evening dress snored peacefully, a bottle of brandy cradled in his arms and a swath of bright crimson silk draped across his leg. A lady’s gown, Julian gathered. The original wearer of the garment was, mercifully, not present.

“I came as soon as I received your message.” Julian had not been best pleased to receive a letter from his sister’s butler, of all people, begging that he return to London ahead of schedule. Having secured a coveted invitation to a very promising house party, he was loath to leave early in order to evict a set of bohemians and reprobates from his sister’s house.

“The cook is threatening to quit, sir,” said the butler. Tilbury, a man of over fifty who had been with Eleanor since she and Julian had arrived in England, had gray circles under his eyes. No doubt the revels had interrupted his sleep. “And I’ve already sent all but the—ah—hardiest of the housemaids to the country. It wouldn’t do for them to be imposed upon. I’d never forgive myself.”

Julian nodded. “You were quite right to send for me. Where is my sister?” Several unmatched slippers were scattered along the stairs that led toward the drawing room and bedchambers. He gritted his teeth.

“Lady Standish is in her study, sir.”

Julian’s eyebrows shot up. “Her study,” he repeated. Eleanor was hosting an orgy—really, there was no use in pretending it was anything else—but ducked out to conduct an experiment. Truly, the experiments were bad enough, but Julian had always managed to conceal their existence. But to combine scientific pursuits with actual orgies struck Julian as excessive in all directions.

“You,” he said, nudging the sleeping man with the toe of his boot. He was not climbing over drunken bodies, not today, not any day. “Wake up.” The man opened his eyes with what seemed a great deal of effort. “Who are you? No, never mind, I can’t be bothered to care.” The man wasn’t any older than Julian himself, certainly not yet five and twenty, but Julian felt as old as time and as irritable as a school mistress compared to this specimen of self-indulgence. “Get up, restore that gown to its owner, and be gone before I decide to let your father know what you’ve been up to.” As so often happened when Julian ordered people about, this fellow complied.

Julian made his way to Eleanor’s study, and found her furiously scribbling at her writing table, a mass of wires and tubes arranged before her. She didn’t look up at the sound of the door opening, nor when he pointedly closed it behind him. Eleanor, once she was busy working, was utterly unreachable. She had been like this since they were children. He felt a rush of affection for her despite how much trouble she was causing him.

“Eleanor?” Nothing. He stooped to gather an empty wine bottle and a few abandoned goblets, letting them clink noisily together as he deposited them onto a table. Still no response. “Nora?” It almost physically hurt to say his childhood name for her when things felt so awkward and strained between them.

“It won’t work,” came a low drawl. “I’ve been sitting here these past two hours and I haven’t gotten a response.”

Banishing any evidence of surprise from his countenance, Julian turned to see Lord Courtenay himself sprawled in a low chair in a shadowy corner. There oughtn’t to have been any shadows in the middle of the day in a bright room, but trust Lord Courtenay to find one to lurk in.

Julian quickly schooled his face into some semblance of indifference. No, that was a reach; his face was simply not going to let him pretend indifference to Courtenay. He doubted whether anyone had ever shared space with Lord Courtenay without being very much aware of that fact. And it wasn’t only his preposterous good looks that made him so . . . noticeable. The man served as a sort of magnet for other people’s attention, and Julian hated himself for being one of those people. As far as he could tell, the man’s entire problem was that people paid a good deal too much attention to him. But one could hardly help it, not when he looked like that.

 

Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s doing crossword puzzles, bird watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.

ARC Review: Lucky Charmed (Sharla Lovelace)

Lucky Charmed is the second book in Lovelace’s Charmed in Texas series, following A Charmed Little Lie that was released in April.

This time, we have Carmen Frost who has been planning to leave Charmed to follow her wanderlust dream after finally divorcing her husband… only to find out that her first love, Sullivan “Sully” Hart — the one who left her behind and broke her heart fifteen years ago — has decided to return and settle down in Charmed instead.

Similar to the first book, Lucky Charmed is written using the heroine’s first person narrative. I do prefer alternate point-of-views in my romance. I mean, there were times that I would’ve LOVED to get inside Sully’s mind, to know what he thinks and feels about Carmen. However, I admit that I enjoyed the drama and the surprises at the same time as Carmen.

Without knowing anything about that night from Sully’s perspective, Carmen’s emotion when she discovers the secrets being kept from her feels more effective. Besides, despite the lack of Sully’s POV, I still thought the chemistry between the two of them was strong.

I loved that Carmen doesn’t easily give in to Sully’s explanation. I loved that she gets angry at him. I loved that she confronts Sully (and also her mother). I loved that Carmen still tries to follow her dream. Sometimes it needs to be done — experiencing what you think you want or need before making any decision in your life.

I really think Sharla Lovelace’s writing clicks with me. Now I can’t wait to read book #3. Because there’s a development regarding that future couple in this book that intrigues the hell out of me!

PS: There are a number of errors regarding the name of Sully’s brother. At first it is written as Aidan. But later it is also written as Aiden. I hope the release version is cleaned from this mistake.

RATING: 4 out of 5

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title:
 Lucky Charmed
Author: Sharla Lovelace
Series: Charmed in Texas, #2
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 217 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes
Release Date: July 18, 2017

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Force of Nature (J.K. Hogan)

Title:  Force of Nature

Series: Coming About, #4

Author: J.K. Hogan

Publisher:  Euphoria Press (self)

Release Date: 7/4/17

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 80,000 words

Genre: Romance, contemporary, adventure

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Synopsis

Everyone knows that bonds formed under extreme circumstances never last.

Harbor Patrol officer Neal Hesse has had his life turned upside down by a sudden break-up with his partner of ten years. After sleeping his way through Seattle failed to take his mind off his broken heart, he decides to take a leave of absence from work to find himself again. He hires a professional wilderness guide to take him up into the mountains, so he can get away from everything and live off the grid for a few days.

Travis “Rock” McCreary, ex-Army Ranger turned survivalist, hates doing guided excursions, but it’s his primary source of income while he’s working towards getting his own survival show. Working in such a testosterone-fueled profession has forced him so deep into the closet, he feels like he might never see the light of day again, which makes it even harder to put on a friendly face for his happy, normal clients.

When Rock is hired by clumsy city-boy Neal to take him up into the North Cascades for a survival adventure, his patience and his resolve are tested at every turn. He has to teach Neal to survive in the wilderness while fighting an attraction he can’t allow himself to act on. When their trip doesn’t go as planned, Neal’s getaway turns into a true survival situation, and he and Rock are forced to rely on each other to stay alive. If they make it out of the wilderness, can their newfound connection survive in the real world?

Excerpt

Neal didn’t see how this was supposed to help take his mind off his ex because, as they trudged up the trail mostly in silence, he had nothing but time to think. Time to think about how he’d fallen for and spent years with a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He thought he’d been settled, that Tony was The One, that they had been on their way to growing old together. How wrong he’d been.

When the party reached an overlook at the highest point on the trail, they stopped for a panoramic view of the waterfall. Even Neal had to admit, with the sun streaming into the gorge and casting rainbows from the mist, it was a beautiful sight. It was still hard to drag himself out of his head, though. He knew his friends meant well, and they were right, of course. He needed to get up, get out, get back on the proverbial horse of life. But he didn’t wanna. He wanted to be at home on the couch moping, damn it.

He wished for that even harder when he saw the so-called trail that descended from the overlook to the foot of the falls where hikers could walk around or swim on warm-enough days. This trail was also steps, but natural ones of smooth, flat rock. It was narrow. Very narrow, and the lower part had a thin coat of slime from the water spray and mud. So it was fucking slippery.

When he’d almost made it to the flat riverbed, Neal lost his footing on a slick rock. He barely avoided taking a tumble—probably would’ve cracked his skull open—but he gained his balance again at the last moment. He breathed a sigh of relief when he stepped off that part of the trail. The falls dumped into a wide open part of the gorge, forming a broad pool that was bordered by a large, semicircular bank of river rock. There, day-hikers and tourists spread out on the rocks, picnicking, sunning themselves, or generally just taking in the scenery. Neal’s friends spread out to do their own thing.

Addison stalked off to the tree line with her cell phone, probably trying to get a signal so she could call her girlfriend. Bennett led Rory around the edge of the pond so they could get close to the actual waterfall. He was wearing a chest harness that held his Go-Pro, the action camera he usually kept on his boat. Rich and Paddy sat down on some large rocks and got out their trail snacks. And Nic Valentine, the crazy fucker, was wading in the frigid pool while Justice looked on, shaking his damn head.

Neal shivered just thinking about it. It was the tail-end of summer, so it was still quite warm, but these high lakes and rivers were always brisk, even on the hottest days. He’d been trained to withstand cold water temperatures for marine rescues, but that didn’t mean he had to like it, and he certainly didn’t do it for fun. Turning away from the splashing idiot, Neal looked around at all of the tourists and vacationers. Everyone had phones out, taking pictures, and he was sure they were tweeting and Instagramming like mad whenever they could find a bar or two.

He shook his head, then smirked and took his own phone out. “When in Rome,” he muttered. First, he snapped a picture with the reverse camera of himself with the waterfall in the background. Then he flipped the view so he could get a shot of the gorge. His frame wasn’t wide enough, so he took a few steps back, mindful of the rocks that became more slippery the closer he got to the falls.

His foot slipped and plopped down into water still cold enough to make him gasp, and right at the same time, he backed into something hard. Solid. Something alive. Neal winced when he heard an outraged cry and a splash behind him. Oh, fuck. Had he just…knocked someone into the water? He knew he needed to make sure they weren’t hurt or anything, but damn, he was afraid to turn around…because that had not felt like a small person.

Cautiously, he turned around and looked down, where he saw a man flailing around in the shallows of the pool. Once he got control of his feet, the man sprang up in the perfect kip-up. Neal cringed when he saw that his clothes and trail pack were completely soaking wet. And when he looked at the man’s face, he froze. His brain registered three things almost simultaneously: he looked vaguely familiar, he was very attractive, and he was really fucking mad.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” the stranger shouted.

He stepped forward so aggressively that Neal backed up, and his right hand went instinctively to his hip, where he would’ve put his hand on the stock of his service weapon—only there was nothing there because he was off duty.

Not wanting to seem like an equal aggressor, he covered the move by sticking his hand in his pocket, hoping to appear non-threatening. This guy was about his age and shorter by a few inches, but he was ripped. He looked rugged and whipcord strong and looked ready to kick some ass in a heartbeat. Neal might’ve been able to take him—he had him on height and weight, but the guy looked like he might be stronger…and a lot meaner. Neal really didn’t want to fight. That was a helluva lot of paperwork.

He held his arms out in front of him, both as a gesture of peace and to stave off an attack if that were to happen. “Man, I am so sorry. I didn’t realize anyone was behind me.”

“Clearly,” he growled, shrugging out of his pack. He unzipped it and started digging through it.

“Again, really sorry. If anything in your pack got damaged, I’ll reimburse you.”

He scowled at me. “This is a waterfall hike. I’m not an idiot. Anything of value is inside a dry bag.”

Neal bristled because the guy was basically calling him and everyone with him an idiot because they hadn’t brought dry bags. They’d just figured they could avoid, you know, falling in the water. Probably should’ve planned better, because if Neal hadn’t knocked into this guy, it would’ve been him in the water. But Neal had been the one to cause the fall, so he tried not to let his attitude get to him. “If you need a towel, I think one of my friends might’ve brought one.”

He sat down on a large, flat rock and pulled off his hiking shoes, probably to let them dry a little in the sun. His socks looked dry, so Neal assumed his footwear was waterproof. That also would’ve been a good idea, since Neal’s right sneaker was soggy as hell from stepping in the water.

The guy shook his head and didn’t make eye contact. “I’ve got more hiking to do. I’ll air-dry. Just try not to drown anyone, will ya?”

Neal’s eyes narrowed, and he fought a valiant battle not to tell the guy to fuck off. Instead, he fell back on his usual façade of charm and reached out a hand. “I’m Neal. Wish it had been under better circumstances, but it’s nice to meet you.”

His mega-watt smile, the one that had gotten him laid all the time when he was with Tony and before, bounced off this angry stranger like he had some kind of nice-guy force field. He glared at the proffered hand until Neal got the hint and put it back in his pocket. Just when he was about to say ‘fuck it’ and walk away, the guy mumbled, “Travis.”

“Pardon?” Neal asked, raising his eyebrows.

“Name’s Travis.”

“Well…Travis. It’s been a pleasure. I’ll get out of your hair.” About maxed out on politeness, Neal turned on his heel and started walking, stumbling slightly on the wet stones.

“Hey, Neal?”

He turned and looked at Travis. “Yeah?”

“You should stick to walking in the park or going to the gym. You don’t belong out here.”

Rage burned in Neal’s gut. He’d apologized profusely, and this guy just wouldn’t let it go. Where the hell did he get off? “The fuck did you say to me? I’ll have you know, I’m a police officer.”

Bennett had obviously picked up on the tone because Neal sensed his partner and Paddy creeping up on his flanks.

Travis’s eyes flicked back and forth between the three men, then he shook his head with a scoffing sound. “I’m just trying to give you some advice. It’s guys like you who come out here and fall down into the ravine because you don’t have the instincts to pay the fuck attention to where you put your feet.”

Neal lunged forward, but Bennett stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. “Nuh-uh. Walk away, Hesse.”

“But—”

“Nope.” Paddy started pulling him backward.

Travis spoke again, and the sound of his voice grated over Neal’s nerves like sandpaper. “I’m not just trying to be an asshole, although I’d be justified, considering.” He gestured down at his wet clothes. “But seriously, if you want to be all outdoorsy and shit? Get yourself some survival training, because you seem pretty fucking hopeless.”

Neal growled and lunged again, but was stopped by his two strong friends.

“Aaaand we’re done here,” Bennett said, as he and Patrick hauled Neal to the other side of the river where the rest of their group was waiting.

“Come on, just one swing!” Neal shouted over his shoulder. It was just for show because his pride was more bruised than he wanted to let on, but the boys kept a firm grip on him just in case.

Why the fuck did it matter that some asshole stranger thought he was incompetent? But Neal knew the answer to that—because his own boyfriend had as well. Tony had basically unmanned him by suggesting Neal’s career and choices didn’t matter, and now some random guy was telling him he couldn’t even wipe his own ass without help.

Neal seethed quietly all the way back down the trail. He’d never see that crazy fucknut again, but he’d be damned if he’d let the guy be right. So as soon as he got back, he booked himself on a survival excursion with a professional wilderness guide. That’d show that asshole. The one he would never see again.

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Meet the Author

J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?

J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and two sons, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit http://www.jkhogan.com.

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Review Tour & Giveaway: An Unexpected Truth (S A Meade)

 

Buy Links: Pride (Early Download)| Amazon US | Amazon UK (Out July 11)

Length: 58,591

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Blurb

A trust destroyed is a trust that is hard to recover…

Brendan Matthews is happy training racehorses for a living. He thinks he’s hit the jackpot when a wealthy orthopedic surgeon, Adam Ahmadi, sends six yearlings his way. Not only are the horses a cut above the rest, their owner isn’t too shabby either.

But not everything is as it seems. Adam has many secrets, most of them dark and deadly. When Adam’s past returns with a vengeance, he disappears, leaving Brendan confused and hurt. If Adam survives, will his past destroy their future?

S.A. Meade lives in deepest Wiltshire with her son, a dog and two cats. She is still partial to gin and tonic and loves to cook. When she’s not working, she stares at her laptop and waits for inspiration to strike, preferring that to mowing the lawn or weeding. When parked in front of a computer, she can be found wandering the streets of her village, dog in tow.

 

ARC Review: An Unexpected Truth (S A Meade)

It has been four years since I last read a story by S A Meade. I remember loving her writing which is why I jumped on a chance to request the advanced reader’s copy for this one.

An Unexpected Truth is definitely not at all like what it all seems in the beginning. At first, I thought it would be a gentle loving story about a racehorse trainer and the owner. I loved Brendan; his crush over Adam is cute. I loved the early progress of their relationship. It was sweet and slow-burning; these men definitely not at all ruled by their libido.

However, when Adam’s past secrets coming back to haunt them, this is when I started to feel a little bit miffed. While the twist that came with the secret was pretty smart — I definitely did not see that coming! — but I also felt it to be a little over the top. I guess I isn’t a huge fan of that particular kind of cloak and dagger drama; it sort of disturbed the flow of the story for me.

In addition, I wonder if Brendan forgive Adam’s disappearing act a little bit too quickly, no matter Adam’s reasons. Personally, I thought the last 1/4th part of the book felt rushed for me.

All in all, there are things I really liked and there are things I didn’t. I also enjoyed the aspect of the horse breeding and training in this book. Oh, and the supporting characters were marvelous. Note if you have read Meade’s debut novel, Stolen Summer, well, the couple made a cameo appearance in here as well!

One thing for sure though, S A Meade’s writing is still as beautiful as I remember *sigh*

 

RATING: 3.5 out of 5
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The ARC is provided by the publisher for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: An Unexpected Truth
Author: S A Meade
Genre: MM Contemporary / MM Thriller and Suspense
Length: 58,591 words
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: July 11th, 2017

Review Tour & Giveaway: Finding Home (Meg Harding)

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 68,000 words
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb
 

Jaden Matthews has never known his father or his father’s family, but he’s about to get a crash course on having siblings. With the recent passing of his grandmother, he’s discovered he has three half-brothers and part ownership of a gym. In Serenity, Florida. His life in New York has hit a rocky road, so maybe this is the vacation he needs to get things back on track.


Chase Michaels lost his future in a car crash almost ten years ago, and he’s made a new one for himself in Serenity. One that doesn’t include getting emotionally involved with people who are just passing through. But Jaden makes his common sense flee and his gut react. He’s got one month with the man who made him believe in taking a chance.

 
 
Author Bio
 

Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF, and recently completed a masters program for Publishing in the UK. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.

 

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